The value of sparrows (Lk 12:6-12:6)

“Are not five sparrows

Sold for two pennies?

Yet not one of them

Is forgotten

In God’s sight.”

 

οὐχὶ πέντε στρουθία πωλοῦνται ἀσσαρίων δύο; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιλελησμένον ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them about the value of 5 sparrows.  Jesus said these sparrows were sold for two pennies or assarions (οὐχὶ πέντε στρουθία πωλοῦνται ἀσσαρίων δύο).  This Roman Empire Greek “assarion” coin (ἀσσαρίων) was worth about 2 cents.  So, this total would have been about 4 cents.  Yet none of them are forgotten or neglected (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιλελησμένον) in God’s sight (ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:29, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, compared human life to 2 sparrows, not 5 sparrows as here.  He asked whether these 2 sparrows (οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία) that sold for a penny or a Greek “assarion” (ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται), were more valuable than humans.  Not one of these sparrows would fall to the ground without the heavenly Father (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν).  Thus, if God was worried about these somewhat valueless sparrows, how much more would he be concerned about humans.  Do you worry about sparrows?

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Peter responds (Lk 9:20-9:20)

“Jesus said to them.

‘But who do you say

That I am?’

Peter answered.

‘The Messiah,

The Christ

Of God.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) who did they say that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι)?  Peter answered (Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) that he was the Messiah, the Christ of God (εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This same question and response of Peter can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:15-17, Mark, chapter 6:29 and John, 6:69, but all slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus was questioning his disciples who was it that they thought or said that he was.  Jesus thus put them to the test.  This was not about what others said or thought, but about their understanding of Jesus.  Who did they think Jesus was?  Mark said that Peter replied to the generic question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked his disciples who they thought or said that he was.  Was he the Son of Man or someone else?  Simon Peter replied to the question of Jesus immediately.  He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel.  Jesus was the son of the living God, not just merely the son of God.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  For the first time, Jesus was called the Christ, the Messiah.  Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.  Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same?  Matthew was the only one who had Peter say that Jesus was the son of the living God.  Matthew was also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven.  However, Peter gave a strong positive response in all four versions.  Matthew also had Jesus respond to Peter, but that was not in Mark or Luke.  Jesus said that Simon was blessed, because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his, but Jesus’ heavenly Father had done so.  Thus, Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven.  Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus.  Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus.  Who is your human Christian leader?

Jesus told the little girl to get up (Lk 8:54-8:54)

“But Jesus

Took the little girl

By the hand.

He called out.

‘Child!

Get up!’”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς ἐφώνησεν λέγων Ἡ παῖς, ἔγειρ

 

Luke said that Jesus took her by the hand (αὐτὸς δὲ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς) and called out saying (ἐφώνησεν λέγων) to the child (Ἡ παῖς) to get up (ἔγειρ).  This curing of this young girl was similar to what can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:25, and Mark, chapter 5:41-42.  However, only Mark went into more detail by using Aramaic words to cure her.  Mark said that Jesus took her by the hand and then said to her, “Talitha cum (Ταλιθὰ κούμ)!” which means “Little girl! Get up or arise!”  Immediately, the girl arose or got up.  She began to walk.  She was 12 years old, the same number of years that the lady suffered from the blood flow.  At this, the crowd was immediately overcome with great amazement.  The use and explanation of Aramaic may indicate an oral source for this story that may have been told originally in Aramaic.  Mark felt compelled to explain this to his Greek non-Aramaic audience.  Matthew had a very succinct story.  Jesus had the crowds put outside.  Then he went into where the dead girl was.  He took her by the hand.  Then this girl got up, without Jesus saying any words.  This is somewhat like the prophet Elijah who brought a child back to life in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24.  Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

The final two apostles (Lk 6:16-6:16)

“The last two were

Judas,

The son of James,

And Judas Iscariot,

Who became a traitor.”

 

καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰακώβου, καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριὼθ, ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης,

 

Luke said that the last two apostles were both called Judas (καὶ Ἰούδαν), the son of James (Ἰακώβου), and Judas Iscariot (καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριὼθ), who became a traitor (ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης).  These last two are problematic for different reasons.  One of these names is similar to Mark, chapter 3:18-19 and Matthew, chapter 10:4, Judas Iscariot, who was on all 3 lists of apostles, with some unfavorable comment about him as a traitor.  However, he was excluded from the list in the in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  As far the other Judas was concerned, there is some more confusion, since he does not appear in Matthew and Mark, who only list a Thaddeus.  Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddeus.  Are these two-different people or just two different names?  Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew?  Did he have both a Jewish and a Greek name?

 

Jesus rebukes the demon (Lk 4:35-4:35)

“But Jesus rebuked him.

Saying.

‘Be silent!

Come out of him!’

The demon

Had thrown him down

Before them.

He came out of him

Without having done

Any harm.”

 

καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων Φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ. καὶ ῥίψαν αὐτὸν τὸ δαιμόνιον εἰς τὸ μέσον ἐξῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ μηδὲν βλάψαν αὐτόν.

 

This is very similar, almost word for word, to Mark, chapter 1:25-26.  Luke said that Jesus rebuked the evil spirit (καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Rebuking was a common Hebrew term used in exorcisms, while in Greek it has a more English sense of warning, chiding, or admonishing.  Jesus told him to be silent (λέγων Φιμώθητι), so that the unclean or evil spirit could come out of that person (καὶ ἔξελθε ἀπ’αὐτοῦ).  Then Luke had an explanation about how the unclean spirit left this person unharmed.  The demon threw him down (καὶ ῥίψαν αὐτὸν τὸ δαιμόνιον) in the midst (εἰς τὸ μέσον) of everyone there.  Then the evil spirit came out of him (ἐξῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ) without having done any harm to him (μηδὲν βλάψαν αὐτόν).  Mark said that the unclean spirit convulsed this person, so that crying with a great loud voice, he came out of that one person.  Thus, the exorcism was complete

Beware children of Abraham! (Lk 3:8-3:9)

“Bear fruits

Worthy of repentance!

Do not begin

To say to yourselves!

‘We have Abraham

As our ancestor!’

I tell you!

‘God is able

From these stones

To raise up children

To Abraham.

Even now,

The ax is lying

At the root of the trees.

Every tree

That does not bear

Good fruit

Is cut down

And thrown

Into the fire.’”

 

ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας· καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ.

ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

 

Here is the first of the sayings from the so-called Q source.  Both Matthew, chapter 3:9-10, and Luke here have the exact same wording in their presentations of John’s preaching to the people.  Instead of just the Pharisees and Sadducees, Luke has John address this to all the people coming to be baptized.  This saying emphasized deeds, rather than relying on ancestry.  They were to produce fruit that was worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας).  They had to perform good deeds.  They should not presume that because they have had Abraham as their father, as the privileged chosen ones (καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ), that all would go well for them.  Then John pointedly said to them (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that God had the power (ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς) to change stones and rocks into the children of Abraham (ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ), a Hebrew play on words that was translated into Greek.  The axe was already lying at the foot of the trees, ready to go to work (ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται).  Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit would be cut down (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται).  Then they would be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).